Bach: Goldberg Variations

Bach: Goldberg Variations

by Mahan EsfahaniMahan Esfahani

CD

$14.59 $14.99 Save 3% Current price is $14.59, Original price is $14.99. You Save 3%.
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details

Overview

The Bach performances of harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani are never boring and often fascinating. He has a way of using his instrument, here a contemporary version of a 1710 Thuringian harpsichord, to evoke a wide range of extramusical associations, and during a live performance of the "Goldberg Variations, BWV 988," he offered as an encore not another piece of music but a reading from Horace. One may be forgiven for thinking that this much-anticipated "Goldberg Variations" recording, released as Esfahani began a five-year traversal of Bach's music at London's Wigmore Hall, gets away from him a bit even as it displays the utterly distinctive thinking of the performer. Start with the booklet, where Esfahani begins with a pointless defense of the veracity of Johann Nikolaus Forkel's account of the sleepless Russian Count Goldberg that gave the variations their name: Bach was said to have been asked to write variations that were then requested by the Count at his bedtime, presumably singly. The grand conceptions of the individual variations, explored by Esfahani in the booklet and excitingly realized at the keyboard, might be thought more likely to jolt the Count awake than to put him to sleep, and in general this is a "Goldberg Variations" that impresses more in its individual parts than in the whole. Esfahani speaks disdainfully of numerological interpretations of the score, which is perhaps understandable, but balance is as much a part of the score as distinctive evocative detail, and it gets lost in Esfahani's interpretation. Sample Variation 24, the canon at the octave, which Esfahani likens to "the grand ensemble of horns and strings" at the beginning of the "Cantata No. 65, Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen, BWV 65": it may be ringing and stirring, but it is less clearly linked to its surroundings, to say nothing of the snoozing Goldberg, than one would like. Nevertheless, for bold thinking on the harpsichord, Esfahani can't be beat; he may be slightly better live than on recordings, and this is certainly a major new statement concerning the "Goldberg Variations."

Product Details

Release Date: 08/26/2016
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
UPC: 0028947959298
catalogNumber: 002537902
Rank: 76058

Tracks

  1. Goldberg Variations, for keyboard (Clavier-Übung IV), BWV 988 (BC L9)

    1. Aria  (03:49)
    2. Variatio 1 a 1 Clav. for one manual  (02:01)
    3. Variatio 2 a 1 Clav. for one manual  (01:24)
    4. Variatio 3 a 1 Clav. Canone all'Unisono for one manual. Canon in unison  (02:38)
    5. Variatio 4 a 1 Clav. for one manual  (01:08)
    6. Variatio 5 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav. for one or two manuals  (01:32)
    7. Variatio 6 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Seconda for one manuals. canon at the second  (01:09)
    8. Variatio 7 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav. Al tempo di Giga for one or two mauals  (01:50)
    9. Variatio 8 a 2 Clav. for two manuals  (02:02)
    10. Variatio 9 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Terza for one manual. canon at the third  (02:26)
    11. Variatio 10 a 1 Clav. Fughetta for one manuel  (01:35)
    12. Variatio 11 a 2 Clav. for two manuals  (01:58)
    13. Variatio 12 a 1 Clav. Canone alla quarta for one manual. canon at the fourth  (02:22)
    14. Variatio 13 a 2 Clav. for two manuals  (05:01)
    15. Variatio 14 a 2 Clav. for two manuals  (02:06)
    16. Variatio 15 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Quinta. Andante for one manual. canon at the fifth  (04:19)
    17. Variatio 16 a 1 Clav. Ouverture for one manual  (03:05)
    18. Variatio 17 a 2 Clav. for two manuals  (01:54)
    19. Variatio 18 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Sesta for one manual. canon at the sixth  (01:35)
    20. Variatio 19 a 1 Clav. for one manual  (01:12)
    21. Variatio 20 a 2 Clav. for two manuals  (02:02)
    22. Variatio 21 a 1 Clav. Canone alla Settima for one manual. canon at the seventh  (02:46)
    23. Variatio 22 a 1 Clav. Alla breve for one manual  (01:32)
    24. Variatio 23 a 2 Clav. for two manuals  (02:20)
    25. Variatio 24 a 1 Clav. Canone all'Ottava for one manual. canon at the octave  (03:41)
    26. Variatio 25 a 2 Clav. Adagio for two manuals  (06:45)
    27. Variatio 26 a 2 Clav. for two manuals  (01:57)
    28. Variatio 27 a 2 Clav. Canone alla Nona for two manuals. canon at the ninth  (01:43)
    29. Variatio 28 a 2 Clav. for two manuals  (02:21)
    30. Variatio 29 a 1 ovvero 2 Clav. for one or two manuals  (02:09)
    31. Variatio 30 a 1 Clav. Quodlibet for one manual  (01:49)
    32. Aria da capo  (04:11)

Album Credits

Customer Reviews